Fenretinide Perturbs Focal Adhesion Kinase in Premalignant and Malignant Human Oral Keratinocytes. Fenretinide's Chemopreventive Mechanisms Include ECM Interactions.

Han BB, Li S, Tong M, Holpuch AS, Spinney R, Wang D, Border MB, Liu Z, Sarode S, Pei P, Schwendeman S, Mallery SR, Han BB, Li S, Tong M, Holpuch AS, Spinney R, Wang D, Border MB, Liu Z, Sarode S, Pei P, Schwendeman SP, Mallery SR
Cancer Prev Res (Phila) 8 419-30 05/01/2015


The membrane-associated protein, focal adhesion kinase (FAK), modulates cell-extracellular matrix interactions and also conveys prosurvival and proliferative signals. Notably, increased intraepithelial FAK levels accompany transformation of premalignant oral intraepithelial neoplasia (OIN) to oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC). OIN chemoprevention is a patient-centric, optimal strategy to prevent OSCC's comorbidities and mortality. The cancer chemopreventive and synthetic vitamin A derivative, fenretinide, has demonstrated protein-binding capacities, for example, mTOR- and retinol-binding protein interactions. These studies used a continuum of human oral keratinocytes (normal-HPV E6/E7-transduced-OSCC) to assess potential fenretinide-FAK drug protein interactions and functional consequences on cellular growth regulation and motility. Molecular modeling studies demonstrated that fenretinide has approximately 200-fold greater binding affinity relative to the natural ligand (ATP) at FAK's kinase domain. Fenretinide also shows intermediate binding at FAK's FERM domain and interacts at the ATP-binding site of the closest FAK analogue, PYK2. Fenretinide significantly suppressed proliferation via induction of apoptosis and G2-M cell-cycle blockade. Fenretinide-treated cells also demonstrated F-actin disruption, significant inhibition of both directed migration and invasion of a synthetic basement membrane, and decreased phosphorylation of growth-promoting kinases. A commercially available FAK inhibitor did not suppress cell invasion. Notably, although FAK's FERM domain directs cell invasion, FAK inhibitors target the kinase domain. In addition, FAK-specific siRNA-treated cells showed an intermediate cell migration capacity; data which suggest cocontribution of the established migrating-enhancing PYK2. Our data imply that fenretinide is uniquely capable of disrupting FAK's and PYK2's prosurvival and mobility-enhancing effects and further extend fenretinide's chemopreventive contributions beyond induction of apoptosis and differentiation.

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